Company = Domain
If you’ve already got a name for your business or company then try to buy a domain name to match it as closely as possible. For example, I run an online cross stitch hobby business called ‘Holly’s Hobbies’ and my domain name is www.hollyshobbies.co.uk. There are lots of people who don’t follow this simple rule and they are losing business because of it. Why? Because the people they meet will go online and search for their company name and find their competitors instead.
The only exception to this is if you use your product or industry as your domain. So, here in the UK we have a large hardware chain called B&Q and their website is www.diy.com. It fits perfectly and is easy to remember once you know it.
If for some reason you can’t get (or afford) the domain name you really want, then try to think of other ways to be clever about your domain instead of resorting to hyphens within the name. Having to type hollys-hobbies-uk is annoying and difficult, and users may not bother. You may want to add the location or something else within the address instead. This is what Heaven on Earth did when they registered www.heavenonearthuttoxeter.co.uk. This way they still get to use their full name, but it also tells you where they are based. Clever huh?
Consider the length
Did you know that domain names can be up to 67 characters long? Some say the shorter the better when it comes to websites. However, unless your business is in some amazingly lucky sector that hasn’t been completely overwhelmed with domain name purchases, you are unlikely to get a short name that says exactly what you do. As long as it’s memorable and can be typed without too much trouble, then I wouldn’t worry too much about the length (the difference between 10 characters and 20 isn’t that much). But 67 might be pushing it!
After the dot
The suffix of your website really should be a consideration too. These days there are literally hundreds to choose from. Don’t panic if you can’t get the .com version for your website, especially if you are here in the UK. To be honest, if you are a local business with local customers, then a .co.uk website address shows that you are also based in the UK and can be an advantage. The same goes for other country-specific domains such as .com.au in Australia and .co.nz in New Zealand, etc. Just beware of choosing a suffix that may confuse your customers. For example, .org.uk primarily denotes charities or not-for-profit organisations and using it for a business may puzzle some people.
You can also try some of the new suffixes (such as .london, .co.com and .uk.com) to help you stand out. Some of the non-location domain suffixes are pretty cool too. A friend of mine has clairemeldrum.photography as her website (photography is the suffix) and it tells everyone exactly what she does. This new trend is definitely going to continue so make the most of it.
Where should I register?
Check a few domain registration companies as the fees do vary. You should expect to pay under £20 for 2 years for .co.uk domains. Just be aware that some providers look really cheap but once you have the domain you can’t use it with any other provider. This is the case with UK2.net who tie you into using their website builder unless you pay a hefty annual fee to redirect your site to your preferred host. You can opt to keep your domain and hosting with one provider or split the two. Choose what works best for you. I recommend 123-Reg for domain searches and their pricing is pretty competitive too.
I hope these tips have been helpful and I really would recommend that you bag your domain name as soon as you can and before you start any of the really hard work on your site. Remember to give me a yell & take advantage of my Digital Mentoring service if you need a hand too!